Author Topic: Copyright question  (Read 646 times)  

Offline WHDean

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Copyright question
« on: May 18, 2017, 07:35:28 PM »
I know generally about permissions and so on for images. But I ran up against an odd one.

Does the person photographed need permission from the photographer to use her own image? There's no attribution on the photo. It was taken during a conference and it's a headshot of the person (no on else in the photo). It's going in an academic book, and the person photographed isn't a public figure.

I thought you could use photos of yourself. But I'm doubting that. Anyone know the answer?

 

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 07:37:31 PM »
Does the person photographed need permission from the photographer to use her own image?

Yes.

Offline noirhvy

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 07:44:14 PM »
If you take a selfie of yourself, you own it. If I take a photo of you I own the rights to the photo but in some cases I might need to get your permission to use it. A monkey cannot take a selfie of himself and then copyright the photo. The photographer has to be human. Hope this helps.

Online Nicole@CSC

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2017, 09:39:44 PM »
That's a big, fat yes. In some situations you can get away with not having a model release, but in pretty much every situation you need a license from the photographer (who actually owns the original copyright to the photo) before using an image.

Offline WHDean

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2017, 10:03:50 PM »
I should have clarified a little more. The photos were taken by the conference organizers or someone working for them. So the organizers own the photos. I meant photographer in the sense of the party who took the photos. Now, this might not change a whole lot in the equation. But it does show that this is not the same as the model-photographer relationship.

Like I said, I do know how permissions and licensing works. But I find it hard to believe that there's no exception when someone photographs you. Though maybe I'm going crazy.

ETA: Suppose someone takes a photo of you at a writers' conference and posts it on FB. It seems strange that you would need the photographer's permission to post the photo of yourself on your blog. I was sure you were allowed to do this. I must be losing it.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 10:16:31 PM by WHDean »

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 10:14:56 PM »
I should have clarified a little more. The photos were taken by the conference organizers or someone working for them. So the organizers own the photos. I meant photographer in the sense of the party who took the photos. Now, this might not change a whole lot in the equation. But it does show that this is not the same as the model-photographer relationship.

Like I said, I do know how permissions and licensing works. But I find it hard to believe that there's no exception when someone photographs you. Though maybe I'm going crazy.

The importance of model release forms suggests to me that people can exercise some control over how images of themselves get used. But maybe it's just a negative right, allowing you to prevent your image from being used to sell something that might damage your reputation, were you to be associated with it. But the positive right to use the image ... that seems like a separate and different thing. It seems right to me that the creator of the art work would hold that right, even if you're the subject of the art work.




Offline WHDean

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 10:19:22 PM »
The importance of model release forms suggests to me that people can exercise some control over how images of themselves get used. But maybe it's just a negative right, allowing you to prevent your image from being used to sell something that might damage your reputation, were you to be associated with it. But the positive right to use the image ... that seems like a separate and different thing. It seems right to me that the creator of the art work would hold that right, even if you're the subject of the art work.

Even in the case I just added? We're not talking about public figures or professional photographers here. I thought this fell under fair use.


Online Anma Natsu

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 06:03:30 AM »
I should have clarified a little more. The photos were taken by the conference organizers or someone working for them. So the organizers own the photos. I meant photographer in the sense of the party who took the photos. Now, this might not change a whole lot in the equation. But it does show that this is not the same as the model-photographer relationship.

Like I said, I do know how permissions and licensing works. But I find it hard to believe that there's no exception when someone photographs you. Though maybe I'm going crazy.

ETA: Suppose someone takes a photo of you at a writers' conference and posts it on FB. It seems strange that you would need the photographer's permission to post the photo of yourself on your blog. I was sure you were allowed to do this. I must be losing it.

Unfortunately, it doesn't matter.  Even though a person may be the subject of the photo, the copyright still belongs to the photographer or possibly, in this case, the organizer.  Unless they have explicitly given over usage rights to the subject, then no, they can't use it for any commercial purposes.  The only rights a person has as the subject is potentially controlling its usage though even then those are minimal because the conference would be considered a public place and it was likely in the conference registration information about rights to use photos taken for promotional purposes, though this can also depend on the state and on how its being used.  A negative use without permission has more options versus them simply displaying it.

That said, presuming the organizers own the photo rights, she would need to contact them for permission to use it.  http://aphotoeditor.com/2010/10/08/ask-anything-%E2%80%93-simple-image-rights-explanation/ and https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/29605/can-someone-take-a-picture-of-me-then-claim-copyright-over-the-material discuss it in more detail.

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 06:14:25 AM »
Copyright belongs to the person who takes the photo, not the subject of it. This is why when you hire a wedding photographer, you have to explicitly pay for all rights to the photo.

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Online dianapersaud

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 07:53:15 AM »
Does she not own her own camera? Is there a reason she can't take a photo of herself and use it?

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 08:19:36 AM »
The only way the copyright does not belong to the photographer is if they were clearly hired in a work for hire situation. For example, military photographers do not own the work they produce while on the job. But for a normal civilian situation this would need to be clearly stated in their contract.

The model does not own any photos taken of them. If it's a public place with little to no expectation of privacy, the photographer doesn't even have to get a model release. Almost all do if the work will be for commercial purposes though, because it avoids any potential issues and gray areas. Most consumers want model releases for less headaches, so photographers get them.

Offline Catchy

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 09:05:24 AM »
The only way the copyright does not belong to the photographer is if they were clearly hired in a work for hire situation. For example, military photographers do not own the work they produce while on the job. But for a normal civilian situation this would need to be clearly stated in their contract.

The model does not own any photos taken of them. If it's a public place with little to no expectation of privacy, the photographer doesn't even have to get a model release. Almost all do if the work will be for commercial purposes though, because it avoids any potential issues and gray areas. Most consumers want model releases for less headaches, so photographers get them.

This. Most conferences will have something in their agreements telling delegates that their pictures might be taken during the conference and used for promotional purposes, etc.. This does not necessarily give the right to anyone to use the images for a non-editorial commercial purpose not directly related to the conference.

While photographers hired by the conference organizers might (or might not) be working with a work-for-hire contract, no one else will be, so they'd own the rights to those photos. None of that gives anyone the right to use the picture in a commercial product though (with one possible exception being editorial. If a journalist took the pic working for a publisher, then that would probably be fair use).

I am occasionally asked by people attending our conferences if they can use photos we took, it's usually not an issue. If I can't grant permission directly, then I usually know who took the photo .

Offline GinJones

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 11:14:54 AM »
You're conflating two sets of rights here. Copyright and publicity rights are different but overlapping fields. Copyright applies to the work of the photographer; publicity rights apply to the subject. So, in your scenario, the person photographed is giving you the publicity rights to use the picture of her, but there's still a copyright issue in terms of the creation of the photograph. I have no idea if there is an exception from copyright in the situation you describe.

 I'm not an expert, and that's pretty much the limit of my knowledge on the topic, but when I was doing some research in a conference-attendance context (a nonprofit holding a conference and wondering whether the "if you register, you agree to the use of your picture by us" things in registration programs would hold up), and I found this blog:

http://dearrichblog.blogspot.com/

I don't know him, and this was never my field of practice (I'm retired from law now), but what he said sounded right and he offered enough evidence to convince me he knew what he was talking about. Poking around there might give  you some solid information.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 12:26:38 PM »
Even in the case I just added? We're not talking about public figures or professional photographers here. I thought this fell under fair use.

I don't know. I wish I knew more. Also, possibly there are differences in U.S. and Canadian law on this matter?




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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 12:36:01 PM »
Oh, come on folks.

There are photos of conferences all over the web.
If there are, say, 10 people in the snapshot, you don't need to run around trying to get permission slips. Just say this is a photo of the conference.

I use a lot of travel photos. Most found on personal blogs after a trip. Some are great. I just email the blog owner for permission to use the photo for a travel article / book with their credit line.
Never been refused.

Online Al Stevens

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2017, 12:38:50 PM »
For legal advice in matters such as these, I'd consult an IP lawyer, not an internet blog or writers' discussion group. None of the contributors will have my back in an infringement litigation.

Online Mercia McMahon

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2017, 12:52:04 PM »
Conferences normally have an exclusion that if you do not want to appear in publicity shots that you can contact the organisers to tell them so, in other words assumed model release.
The photograph is copyright to the photographer or the organisation they have signed over their rights to.
Using a photograph with someone else in it without a model release is permissible under editorial use (i.e., a photograph only to be used in a article to which it is directly relevant).
To use a photograph under editorial use you must have licensed the photograph from the copyright holder.
Editorial use does not apply to commercial products such as books.
Social media is a different case with its idea of getting shares of your photo.
Fair Use is the most misunderstood aspect of copyright on kboards. Fair Use is about text not images. Fair Use is not the academic equivalent of editorial use (i.e., relevancy is not the criterion), but to facilitate the reader in understanding the critique that you are making of the written text. Fair Use is limited to a certain portion of the work that is the principle reason why it does not apply to images.
Even if everything else is covered (photographer's permission and you already having given assumed model release) you have to ensure that nothing in the shot could require building release because the background includes a distinctive and recognisable design that is still under copyright to the designer or whoever the designer signed rights over to. Building release is not an issue with editorial use, but in a book might be required.
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Online J.A. Sutherland

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2017, 02:02:48 PM »
Oh, come on folks.

There are photos of conferences all over the web.
If there are, say, 10 people in the snapshot, you don't need to run around trying to get permission slips. Just say this is a photo of the conference.

I use a lot of travel photos. Most found on personal blogs after a trip. Some are great. I just email the blog owner for permission to use the photo for a travel article / book with their credit line.
Never been refused.

Conferences have a media release in their contract.

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Online Al Stevens

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2017, 05:01:05 PM »
Fair Use is the most misunderstood aspect of copyright on kboards.
And everywhere else.

Offline WHDean

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2017, 09:03:02 PM »
I must've imagined there was an exception for this. Anyway, the shorter distance is probably getting permission from the organizers.

Thanks for all you thoughts. Except maybe this one:

Does she not own her own camera? Is there a reason she can't take a photo of herself and use it?

I did check on Amazon, but it seems no one makes a camera that can take a picture ten years ago at a conference.  ???


Offline Flay Otters

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2017, 09:19:33 PM »
Only three ways a photographer doesn't own copyright:
1 If the work is a "work for hire" or "buyout" where the person paying for the work owns it.
2 If the photographer sells the copyright.
2 If the picture is of work of art, and the photo does not add anything to the work of art (photos of individual paintings in an art gallery for example).

If the person running the conference bought the copyright at the time then ask them.
Or ask the photographer. Real photographers usually want money. Amateurs will often do it for credit and fun.

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Offline Alix Adale

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Re: Copyright question
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2017, 10:10:58 PM »
Conferences have a media release in their contract.

I am not a lawyer but I don't think this is fair use.

A media release only says your image may be used in news articles and promotional materials for the particular conference. Signatories do not surrender all rights forevermore to have their images used in the public domain or used in ebooks or sold on stock photo sites or used to promote erotica or multilevel marketing schemes or whatever. This violates multiple ebook and stock photo site TOS.

I used to work media and took pictures of whatever public figures I wanted, employees, celebs, general public. But I could not use pictures of the general public except in relation to their attendance to that event.  After the fact, I could still use those pictures to illustrate the event that happened. But I could not take an image from that event, say of a conference attendee, just because she was an attractive cosplayer or whatever, and use it to illustrate my hot sexy paranormal romance. Or my eBook about keywords.

Freedom of the Press does not mean I can take your personal photograph and use it to illustrate my story about serial killers unless you are, in fact, an accused or convicted serial killer. There are rational, well-defined, legal limits to fair use when it comes to privacy.

This is not fair use at all, imo.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 10:14:55 PM by Alix Adale »
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